What if the foods you eat could add years to your life? A recent Archives of Internal Medicine study showed that eating more whole grains might help you to live longer. Why? Scientists suspect that the fiber in grains reduces your risk of dying from cardiovascular, respiratory and infectious diseases.
Plus, whole grains deliver more nutrients, including fiber, and are nuttier and chewier than refined grains. Here are 4 age-defying carbohydrates you should add to your diet, plus easy ideas to help you up your intake:
—Nicci Micco, M.S., Editor-at-Large
Eat oatmeal for breakfast. The fiber in oats is the soluble kind that is associated with heart health and—bonus!—will help you feel fuller for longer.
Here is an easy way to serve a crowd a hearty breakfast before facing the elements for a day of winter sports. You can assemble it in the slow cooker in the evening and wake up to a bowl of hot, nourishing oatmeal. The slow cooker eliminates the need for constant stirring and ensures an exceptionally creamy consistency. It is important to use steel-cut oats; old-fashioned oats become too soft during slow-cooking.
Get the Recipe: Overnight Oatmeal
Cook a big pot of quinoa (or barley) to use for lunches all week. Use it as a base for whatever vegetables and herbs you have on hand (or that you’re craving that day); mix in a little olive oil and lemon juice. Sprinkle on slivered almonds and a couple teaspoons of dried cranberries, mmm...
We took the tangy fresh flavors of tabbouleh and paired them with smoky tofu and quinoa to create a main-dish salad that's perfect served on a bed of greens. This salad is jam-packed with heart-healthy ingredients—whole grains (quinoa), legumes (soy-based tofu) and plenty of vegetables.
Get the Recipe: Quinoa & Smoked Tofu Salad »
Have whole-grain pasta dishes for dinner—you’ll get about 6 grams of fiber per serving. For more staying power, supplement it with veggies, beans and sometimes a lean source of protein, like chicken.
Alfredo di Lello, the Roman restaurateur who created his signature sauce in the 1920s, might be startled to find this streamlined version that still tastes rich enough to satisfy those deep creamy-pasta cravings. The addition of zucchini boosts the nutritional profile. And when cut into thin strands, it can be twirled gracefully on a fork.
Recipe to Try: Fettuccine Alfredo »
Snack on popcorn, it’s a whole grain. Seriously! Three cups of popped popcorn (what you get by popping 1 heaping tablespoon of kernels) equals one of your three recommended daily servings of whole grains and contains 3 grams of fiber. Gram for gram, popcorn boasts three times more polyphenols—antioxidants linked to improving heart health and also to reducing cancer risk—than kidney beans (the highest vegetable polyphenol source) and four times more than cranberries (the best fruit source), according to recent research out of the University of Scranton.
Don't Miss: Whole-Grain Benefits of Popcorn »
Perk up your popcorn with a bit of lemon pepper and Parmesan cheese.
Get the Recipe: Lemon-Parm Popcorn »